Sailing-Ainslie loses to France in setback to America's Cup hopes

Two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA won two of three races Sunday to take a two-point lead in the America's Cup qualifiers on Bermuda's Great Sound.

Artemis was flagged for a port-starboard violation and had to slow just as it approached the finish line after a short reach across the wind, allowing the Kiwis to win.

The British outfit led by Ben Ainslie - racing after frantic overnight repairs to their catamaran damaged in a cash with Team Japan on Saturday - only remained abreast of New Zealand in the standings thanks to the two bonus points they brought in from the America's Cup World Series.

Christian Kamp spoke to commentators after a late call in America's Cup qualifying scuppered his side's chances of a win against the Kiwis in Bermuda. The American lead grew as Land Rover BAR came off its foils and buried its bows in the water just after the weather mark, a recurring problem.

They're the only team to race everyone else so far, losing just once to Artemis and skipper Jimmy Spithill said they have a lot of improvement needed.

Each team races the other twice in the head-to-head match race format, with a point for the victor.

It was not all bad news for the U.S. crew, however, with a win in the head-to-head between former team mates Jimmy Spithill and Land Rover BAR skipper Ben Ainslie.

"It was a very frustrating race but credit to France, they had better speed than us and took the win", said British helmsman Sir Ben Ainslie.

But by the sixth and final gate, Artemis Racing enjoyed the advantage in the changing conditions finding themselves ahead before racing for the line and taking a welcome 39-second win.

Ashby said it had been important to put in a strong performance in both races. Oracle Team USA will skip this stage and head right to the finals.

And then there was the America's Cup four years ago when Ainslie joined the Oracle Team USA crew when their hopes appeared over - duly calling the tactics that inspired one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.

But returning to Land Rover BAR's first race against pre-race race favourites Artemis Racing, Ainslie's crew dominated.

"However, I see it as good practice on how how to shake off a mistake and show how fast you can be when chasing".

"If we had left it in the water for a few more minutes it would have sunk".

"Obviously starting from behind is not ideal but overall I think we're all happy with today's results".

"We'll look at those areas closely and come back fighting tomorrow".

  • Zachary Reyes